MEL Airport

Deputy Premier of Victoria and Transport Minister, Jacinta Allen, has confirmed in an interview with ABC Radio on 17 April that the state’s airport rail link will not be finished by its original completion date of 2029.

In the interview Ms Allen said that the delays are due to slow negotiations with Melbourne Airport, which the government has described as “challenging”.

Melbourne Airport Rail is due to connect Melbourne Airport to Victoria’s regional and metropolitan train network – forming a key part of the Suburban Rail Loop.

Early works have already begun on the airport link, which would run from Tullamarine to Sunshine, and then link to the metro train system and new Metro Tunnel.

Ms Allan addressed speculation the airport rail link had been put on hold, and stated that the project remained a significant priority for the Victorian Government.

Ms Allan revealed the 2029 completion date would not be met because of what she described as slow and frustrating negotiations with the private operator that runs Melbourne Airport, which is concerned about issues such as how to continue running the airport during construction of the rail line.

“I’ll be really frank with you,” Ms Allan told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“It has been challenging to negotiate with the airport about how the project will be delivered on the land that they lease from the Federal Government to run the airport.

“It’s been slower than I would have liked.”

Ms Allan said the slow pace of the negotiations had “pushed out” the timeline of the project, but did not reveal when she now expected the rail service would begin.

She said the project’s future also hinged on the outcome of the state and federal budgets.

“We are in conversations right now with the Federal Government,” Ms Allan said.

She said she was unable to confirm anything ahead of final decisions that will be taken by either levels of government.

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